School safety proposal draws questions about cost

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Mar 26, 2013 11:28 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate lawmaker's proposal to use retired police and other law enforcement officers as school guards is drawing questions regarding its cost.

York County Republican Mike Regan says his plan doesn't have a price tag yet - but it would likely cost to be between $30 and $50 million.

Northern Lebanon School District Superintendent Don Bell says local district taxpayers will have to foot half of the bill, which could be a burden.

"I look at this really as a conversation starter, rather than his bill being the ending," Bell says.

Donald Smith, Emerency Planning and Repsonse Management Coordinator with the Center for Safe Schools, says while armed law enforcement professionals may be a good security measure, the scope of such a program is something worth studying.

"We talk about 3,300-plus public schools in Pennsylvania, you add the privates and parochials and we're over 5,400 schools," Smith says. "If you look at that cost factor, schools are very worried."

Smith says his analysis of Regan's bill shows it could cost as much as $90 million per year.

Hear extended interviews with Smith, Bell and Regan on Radio Smart Talk.


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